Funko Games: Last Defense Review
Posted by: Nick on September 14, 2020 at 01:10 PM CST
Funko Games and Prospero Hall continue to surprise us with their ingenuity, creativity, and immersion of their board games. Last Defense is no exception here and is another clear must own. We had our first exposure to this game during Toy Fair this year and on its preface alone sounded like a must own. Similar to the Back to the Future: Back in Time game, this is also a team play with shared objectives. However, this game includes its own gimmick, and app that directs game play via news broadcasts, randomizing what players can expect and creating near infinite replay value. Contents
Let's take a look at the gameplay elements and break down some of the dynamics. A quick overview first, your town is being attacked by various sci-fi creatures and the only way to stop them is to recover scientists that will use their wizardry to concoct some gadgets to eliminate the threats. This is a timed game, so you only have 20 minutes to take out all four baddies.
In lieu of an unboxing, you can check out what is included in the above photo. Again Funko Games is great at providing enough baggies of different sizes to keep your game pieces together and in excellent shape, so no need for sandwich bags here. The game consists of player markers, enemy markers, scientists and debris, tools, dice, and the game board. What you need to bring to the table (pun intended) is your smart phone or tablet. The game does not function without the app, which is free. The instructions provided only give you a rough cut at what to expect but there is an instructional video that the app will link you too for a visual understanding.
Movement of the game board is similar to the Back to the Future: Back in Time
game. It follows particular paths instead of allowing the player to move along any trajectory. Movement can also be obstructed (more on that later). NPCs and Tools
Defeating the threats in this game requires scientists of different disciplines (as seen above). These are not playable characters, rather tokens you must collect. They have been trapped under debris by the attacking monsters and you must use various combinations of tools you pick up to remove this debris and get the scientists. When you return a combination of scientists to the plaza, they can take out the respective threats. Some tools, like the flare, serve a double purpose and allow you to pass buy or temporarily distract threats so you can save scientists. Periodically, the player will discover a helicopter under the debris instead of a scientist. This token simply allows the player to travel anywhere on the game board without the use of the movement die. Characters: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The game contains two sets of moveable characters. The players and the threats. The players come from different walks of life but don't offer much in unique skill sets. The only unique ability each one has is the ability to pass through a special location despite a threat occupying the space. Usually this action requires the use of a flare, but certain characters will get a pass in these instances.
The threat tokens are controlled by the app. The game randomizes which four (it is always four) will make an appearance, where they will make their first appearance, and where they will move to next. They can be eliminated with a combination of scientists that are brought back to the starting position. Once eliminated they are out of the game.Setup and Gameplay
Setup is predominately controlled by the app. The players simply need to pick their pieces and shuffle the tools cards. The app will tell you where the threats have struck first, requiring the players to put a hidden scientist token and a debris token on top of it in the listed location prior to starting the game.
Once you start gameplay after set up, players take turns rolling the dice to acquire tools and advance toward the debris with the scientists. Each time you land on a space you get to reveal the necessary tools and attempt to clear the debris by acquiring more tools or trading with others as part of your turn.
At random intervals, the threats will appear bringing new debris and scientists and possibly sending you back to the rest area if they land on you. This action forces you to lose any scientists you've acquire if you haven't used a turn to deposit them at the starting area. Threats also block your movement on the board, either requiring a flare tool to get by or having that location as your special location on your player card.
As the game continues, more threats will appear along with more scientists. Players continue their movement to secure the necessary tools and scientists to wipe out the threats, winning the game, or losing if this takes longer than 20 minutes. The is also an experienced setting which moves the threats at quicker intervals.Final Thoughts
This game is a lot of fun, especially for younger children. My eight-year-old has not been able to stop playing. It is definitely easy to pick up and there is enough variation to make it worth returning too.
For an older crowd, we found the challenge and strategy a little weak. There really is never an issue of finishing this game in 20 minutes, even on experienced. It could get a little more challenging with six players because the resources would split up more but with four we found no issue. The characters would also benefit from some kind of special skill other than a location, every character is pretty generic and brings nothing to the table other than being allowed to pass through one area unimpeded.
Fortunately, these issues could be remedied through an app update. Gameplay could easily become harder with more movements, a fifth threat, or less time. Let's hope Funko Games and Prospero Hall plan on some app support in the future.
These points aside, we still find Last Defense
to be a solid game worthy of addition to your family game night and while aimed at a younger crowd, it is still a delight for adults.
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